I realize that vast numbers of women have not gone through “the change” yet. I don’t want to scare you, but even if I do, you don’t have a choice. It’s inevitable. Hmmm… that should do it.
No, really… your experience could possibly be barely noticeable. That’s what I’ve read anyway. Of course I wasn’t so lucky. I would’ve been a fool to expect it to be. By the time you get to that point in your life, you’ve (hopefully) learned a thing or two.
Menopause is a sadistic bitch and there’s not much you can do about it. Not that you enjoy it. You’re trapped and getting the crap beaten out of you. But then again, maybe it’s more like a split personality, like Smeagol/Golum. A struggle with yourself. Eh, it’s both.
My sister is in denial. She says “I don’t know why I just start crying for no reason.” She also mentions “I get these moments where I just feel like I’m burning up. I don’t understand it.” As a voice of experience I tell her she’s pre-menopausal. True to form she replies “Oh no. It can’t be that.” Ok. Right. You’re past 50 and haven’t gone through it yet. Of course it’s not. Mine started at 44 and lasted about 5 years. I would count myself lucky if it hadn’t started till after I was 50. I’d like to call her an idiot for being so annoying, but I don’t. I just feel sorry for her. She’s unprepared and denial is fruitless, nay, harmful in this situation. The faster you realize what’s happening, the better off you’ll be. Up to a point. At the very best, you’ll know why you’re crying for no reason and that your body has been possessed by the hormonal demon. Hormonal demon… I just thought that up, but it’s so appropriate. What else would light you on fire several times a day without burning you? Or would make you fry in the middle of the night to where you wake up drenched in sweat? Only a demon, people. A hormonal demon.
I don’t want to sound whiny, but I had it worse than normal. I firmly believe that mine was triggered by the fact that I had just lost both parents within a year. Granted, one was my stepfather and there was no love lost there. However, I was laden with the burden of co-executor of the estate. I won’t get into it, but it was one of THE most stressful times of my life. (I can count only 2 other times that were as bad. Getting cancer was one.) The entire remaining family blew up like a freaking volcano. To put the cherry on top of the shit sundae, my best friend of 10+ years abandoned me. Replaced me with someone else. That really hurt. Maybe I shouldn’t blame her. I mean, I couldn’t be the friend she needed; giving her constant validation at all times. Sorry… I digress.
Anyway, I chalked it up to stress when my cycle became irregular, actually gone for the first 5 months. I chalked it up to grief and stress when I would wake in the middle of the night and go into the bathroom for a hard cry for an hour or more. I blamed it on the situation when my mind was scattered; or when I suddenly needed a fan on me when I’ve always hated fans blowing on me. So I didn’t realize that it was menopause on top of everything else. Not until a year later when I asked my doctor if I was starting menopause. He set me straight on the whole progression of things. I was in PRE-menopause. He said it wasn’t menopause until I hadn’t had a period for a year. That included any sign of a period. So pre-menopause was all of the crap that I was going through and would go through until the hormones changed and the estrogen was gone. There wasn’t much that he could do because if he gave me hormone supplements/replacement, it would upset the balance and progression of things and probably make it worse. However, I could take OTC stuff to try to help. Which I did, which helped a little.
It really helped to know what was happening to me. It helped me to realize that it was the hormones that made me short tempered and overly emotional and sensitive. Sort of like a perpetual PMS. Yeah. That. But at least if I knew what it was and could recognize it, I could control it somewhat. By that, I mean rationalize that it wasn’t the end of the world if the toast got a little too brown. That Hubs didn’t automatically secretly want a divorce just because he forgot to give me a kiss goodbye. (Not that I could blame him.) That I needed to make notes on almost everything because I would forget things within minutes. That fans were now my best friends. And more importantly because I knew what was causing it, and that I was doing these things, that I should apologize whenever necessary. My imagination and sensitivity were not Hubs’ and Dear Son’s fault. They felt bad enough when I would start crying over little things. But now I could say “It’s ok. It’s not your fault. It’s these freaking hormones. I’ll be ok in a minute.” Knowing that it was caused by the hormones and not some end-of-the-world event made it much easier to deal with. Like, it’s not real. The illusion will pass. It’ll be ok.
This is why the denial is harmful. If you can’t blame the hormones, you’ll blame other people. You believe it’s the other peoples’ fault, and it’s not fair to them. They’ve gotten thrown onto this roller coaster ride right behind you. They didn’t want on it any more than you did and they were just as taken by surprise as you were.
So for now, I guess we will have to deal with Sister’s denial and hope that she gets a light bulb moment. *sigh*